Tuesday 29 December 2020

3 ace tracks from 12"s

Sotto Voce "Trapped Overtones" (Redstone Press/The Modern Institute

Not Unloved is a sucker for electronic music built on brittle, metallic sounds that could have been made by tiny machines hitting icicles with toffee hammers and"Trapped Overtones" is certainly one of this year's finest examples. Sotto Voce is the duo of visual artists Luke Fowler (also of the  tremendous ecstatic disco group AMOR) and Victoria Morton (formerly of the continually shifting collective Muscles of Joy and who has played live with AMOR) and, on "Trapped Overtones", Turner Prize winner Charlotte Prodger. As a boomkat would say: highest possible recommendation!

Vague Imaginaires "Mais Qu'est-ce que?" (12th Isle)

There's a fair chance that "Mais Qu'est-ce que?" was the piece of music that racked up the largest number of plays Chez Not Unloved in 2020 as it could be trusted to be left on a loop as it was guaranteed never to disappoint or grow tiresome. It sounds like it was composed and played whilst on holiday by a really good-natured robot. Gentle perfection from a French producer - Denis Morin of Grenoble - on one of Scotland's most consistently fascinating labels.

Noémi Büchi "Tap01" (Light of Other Days)

Swiss artist Noémi Büchi sure knows how to make a winning clatter. Across its two minutes,"Tap01" goes from being content to play nice to throwing a tantrum before going for a lie down in a darkened room. The whole "Matiere" 12" is a joy and should be purchased forthwith!

Monday 28 December 2020

Stirling "One Percenter" (Chunklet)

Some of 2020's most joyful noise was to be found across the 5 songs on Stirling's blasting archival (the recordings date from the mid-90s) e.p. on Chunklet. Check out the primo, full force scorch of lead track "One Percenter" :

Imagine seeing that performed live in a sweaty basement! Stirling take a flamethrower to yr favourite trash wax, gleefully melting it into new, nastier shapes like some dream The Gories/The Jesus & Mary Chain wrecking squad. Pete Wilkins (drums/vocals) is better known as the drummer for The Wolfhounds whereas Sam Knee (guitar/vocals) went on to publish a clutch of great books including the seminal "A Scene In Between – Tripping through the fashions of UK indie music 1980-1988". Stirling's third and final member, John Hannon (guitar/harmonica/vocals), has made a bunch of great records under the name Liberez and has brilliantly mastered all three of  the 7"s released so far on Not Unloved Records. Hats off to Henry Chunklet for lobbing this 7" stinkbomb into yr local record shop before running off, no doubt grinning like a loon.

Sunday 27 December 2020

Not Unloved's favourites of 2020

With no gigs to eat up the evenings and 9 months of working from home, in theory, 2020 afforded plenty of time to really get to grips with all the new records as they appeared. Only, that didn't happen to the extent I'd hoped. Instead, I became embroiled in The Great Lockdownload of 2020 (thanks to J for naming it thus!) in which I belatedly tried to make use of the all the wee download coupons I hadn't got round to using over the last, er, decade. Having hundreds of new lps on my laptop meant that I rediscovered (and in some cases discovered - oops!) loads of records that I should have played much more when they were current. Also, unexpectedly, I found myself becoming fixated on a succession of individual songs. Some of them were singles *, a bunch of them were album tracks (such as this and this) but most of them were 60s garage and soul tunes (and the odd tune that combined both) that I happened upon via sales lists, mixes, streamed DJ sets, radio shows etc. etc.. Having said all that, it was still very difficult to whittle down 2020's releases into 15 albums and singles but here goes:


Sault "UNTITLED (Black Is)" / "UNTITLED (Rise)" (Forever Living Originals)
Cindy "Free Advice" (Mt St Mtn)
The Reds, Pinks and Purples "You Might Be Happy Someday" (Tough Love)
David Boulter "Yarmouth" (Clay Pipe)
Sweeping Promises "Hunger For A Way Out" (Feel It)
Jetstream Pony "s/t" (Shelflife/Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)
Tara Clerkin Trio "s/t" (Laura Lies In)
Phew "Vertigo KO" (Disciples)
Loopsel "The Spiral" (Förlag För Fri Musik)
Naked Roommate "Do The Duvet" (Upset The Rhythm)
Robin Saville "Build A Diorama" (Morr Music)
Cleo Sol "Rose In The Dark" (Forever Living Originals)
Bill Callahan "Gold Record" (Drag City)
Smokescreens "A Strange Dream" (Slumberland)


The Go! Team "Cookie Scene" (Memphis Industries)
Typical Girls "Typical Girls EP" (Happiest Place)
The Cool Greenhouse "Alexa!" (Melodic)
Dojo Cuts "Rome" (Colemine)
The William Loveday Intention "My Love For You" (Damaged Goods)
The Tubs "I Don't Know How It Works" (Prefect)
Love, Burns "Gate and the Ghost" (Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten)
Romero "Honey" (Cool Death)
Stirling "5 Song e.p." (Chunklet)
Neutrals"Personal Computing"  * (Slumberland)
The Tibbs "Damaged Heart" (Record Kicks)
The Reds, Pinks and Purples "I Should Have Helped You" (Il Dischi del Barone)
The Notwist feat. Saya from Tenniscoats "Ship" (Morr Music)
Lewsberg "Through The Garden" (self-released)
Ribbon Stage "My Favorite Shrine" (K)


Jonathan Richman "I, Jonathan" (Craft)


"Strum & Thrum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987" (Captured Tracks)

Archival 7":

The Pastels "Advice To The Graduate" (Domino)

* The song I missed in 2019 that I became obsessed with in 2020 (thanks to a Levanna Maclean dance video):

** "Personal Computing" wins a special award for having my fave opening lines of the year:

"I sniff the pages of computer magazines
I get excited by the obsolete machines"

Thursday 24 December 2020

The Tibbs "Damaged Heart" (Record Kicks)

There has been a lot of lovely low(rider) tempo contemporary soul music released in 2020 on a bunch of fine imprints such as Big Crown, Colemine and Penrose. Of those that found their way into Not Unloved's wee box o' soul, the impeccably sung "Rome" by Dojo Cuts (Colemine) takes the garlands. For whatever reason, however, I didn't buy or even hear half as many soul 45s that could fire up the dancing feet. One notable exception was "Damaged Heart" by Dutch group The Tibbs on Record Kicks. If mp3s wore out like cassettes, my download of"Damaged Heart" would have dropouts galore. There's something so addictive about its shimmy and flow. Elsa Bekman's powerful, yet never over-cooked vocal performance is a real joy, too. I say this a lot but if I ever play records out again, this 7" will be among the first on the decks.


Tuesday 15 December 2020

Morningwhim "Maybe"

Javi of the mighty fine Spanish label Pretty Olivia Records caused a bit of a stir at Not Unloved headquarters recently. It's fairly safe to say that without his Twitter post, Japanese group Morningwhim's pretty but purposeful "Wandering"  would have passed me by completely. I'm so glad it didn't as it's one of the finest indiepop tunes of the post-Sarah Records variety to alight on these ears in recent times. It graces the b-side of their "Most of the Sun Shines" single (Fastcut Records, Japan). Buying records from Japan is always pricey but, happily, it was available for a decent price - unfortunately, its price has since gone up - from a UK distro. Cheers for the tip, Javi!

Friday 11 December 2020

2 ace 7"s: Typical Girls & The Cool Greenhouse

Compiling lists of records of the year in November is a fool's errand as, invariably, each December records come outta nowhere to crash the list. Among 2020's late blooms are a couple of tremendous 7"s:

Typical Girls "Typical Girls EP" (Happiest Place)

Gothenburg, Sweden's Typical Girls serve up 3 tracks (including an effervescent cover of The Troggs' "Girl Like You" that features a keyboard that, somewhat fantastically, sounds not unlike a steel drum) that are so bright the NHS should prescribe this 45 as a remedy for Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers. There's the odd hint of Korallreven's Balearic bliss to "Tension" which is so unashamedly pretty and TUNEFUL that it had me yearning to listen to groups like They Go Boom!! for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

The Cool Greenhouse "Alexa" (Melodic)

Before the world changed and breathing the same air as others seemed marginally less risky, Not Unloved caught The Cool Greenhouse live revue at London's New River Studios. They were every bit as cocky and strident as hoped. When they carved a groove and stayed in it they were immense. Their drummer was amazing that night. "Alexa" has some of the most gloriously wise-ass lyrics in ages e.g. "Alexa: Email my credit card details to my contacts list and write me an undeniably clever final line. Thanks.". Smart, cheeky, but never wacky, The Cool Greenhouse are a real tonic.


Sunday 6 December 2020

Les Ombres "Whatcha Gonna Do"

Not Unloved grew up under the misapprehension that no great pop music originated outside the UK or US. In fact, the first time I went to the fondly remembered West Nicolson Street branch of Avalanche Records in Edinburgh in the early-90s on the hunt for Shop Assistants or Popguns records, I scoffed internally when I saw the 'New Zealand bands' section. I mean, what kinda dunce would waste valuable time listening to groups with names like Able Tasmans or Tall Dwarfs? (Yeah, I know.) It's been fun over the years discovering just how wrong I was back then. Lately, a bunch of great 7"s of Belgian origin have entered Not Unloved's orbit, the first of which was 1964's "Whatcha Gonna Do" by the surprisingly dapper teenage beat sensations Les Ombres. It's up there with the peerless "Can't See For Looking" by The Bobcats or Gary and The Hornets' dazzling take on "Baby, It's You" in the soft-voiced doomed teenage romance stakes.

The Courettes "Want You! Like A Cigarette" (Damaged Goods)

Like everyone else who has spent much of their allotted span in one gig venue or another having their ears whacked repeatedly with mallets of pure sound, Not Unloved is missing the thrill of live music. In recent years very few groups have made more of an impression based solely on seeing them live than the Brazilian/Danish duo The Courettes. Their August, 2018 show in a tiny upstairs room in Leith (Edinburgh, Scotland) was a riot of pure charisma, actual POP hooks and the kind of noise that shakes you by your lapels and tells you that life's gonna be alright. Flipping through the stack of 45s that Not Unloved has purchased this year (yeah...it's list-making time again!), few have been more enjoyably moreish than last summer's "Want You! Like A Cigarette" . For a fair chunk of 2020 brief, uncomplicated pop songs were all that made sense and provided some kinda continuity with what's gone before.

Communicant "She Moves The Sky" (Hypnotic Bridge)

Hypnotic Bridge has had a really fine 2020 - it's reassuring to know that some folks have - and the recent Communicant 7" does nothing to take the gloss off it. "She Moves The Sky" is that rare thing: a modern psych tune that is hyper aware of its many antecedents and incorporates a host of familiar tropes and techniques but somehow doesn't come off as an exercise in past-aping but as a piece of music that needs to exist in its festooned-in-period-specific-adornments form. It has real oomph and dynamic range; the more you ramp up the volume, the better it gets, too.

Shadow Show "What Again Is Real?" (Hypnotic Bridge)

Buying import 7"s in 2020 is a gulp-inducing, wallet-emptying experience so Not Unloved has to choose wisely. A single play of Shadow Show's recent Hypnotic Bridge-released 45, however, was enough to have me shuffling the pack and diverting funds in their direction. The Detroit group have a keen ear for a killer guitar sound and a catchy melody with the result that Shindig! magazine just named it their #2 single of the year. A well deserved feather in their Paisley-patterned cap!

WUT "White Walls"

It's getting harder and harder to navigate the dizzying array of options on bandcamp Fridays so it's handy when trusted individuals shine a light on the good stuff that might otherwise have got lost in the deluge. Last Friday's much appreciated tip came from the crew behind the excellent Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend's Too Stupid To Know About radio show. Canada's WUT released their "Now" tape on Valentine's Day 2020 and on first listen it's packed with elemental indiepop/rock that clatters and rattles like yr K Records faves of yore. Pleasingly, WUT have something to say and on "White Walls" document an increasingly common phenomenon:

it was an artist centre, now its a coffee shop
it was a music venue, now its a coffee shop

Don't get me wrong, Not Unloved uses and endorses coffee shops (especially the independents!) but it would be nice if other businesses and organisations could flourish, too.

Tuesday 25 August 2020

White Feather "Summer Days / Golden Haze" (No No Records, 1983)

Original copies of the "Summer Days / Golden Haze" 7" by lost pastoral psych-poppers White Feather recently appeared for sale on the Perfect Lives Records site. A tiny amount of rummaging revealed that it was a "self released 1983 single, in an unlimited edition of 500" most of which were still in group member Alan S Robinson's cupboard.  My guess is that Perfect Lives were able to retrieve some from the cupboard and I'm glad they did as it's a lovely record which deserves a second shot at finding an audience, however small. Surely, fans of the gentler side of R.E.M.'s earliest work or those who avidly thumbed the pages of Bucketful of Brains or relished rifling through the 45s in Standout and Minus Zero will see its appeal. 

P.S. An mp3 of the A-side can be downloaded for FREE here with the B-side being available here.

Monday 24 August 2020

Juniper "Juniper"

So far, 2020 has been a real head scrambler of a year so anything that is an uncomplicated source of joy is most welcome. "Juniper" by Juniper (Shelley) (lp on FABCOM!/CD on Confidential Recordings), therefore, showed up at just the right time; a dozen accomplished, wholesome and super-catchy songs about teenage matters such as the merits (or not!) of boys and dating, in general (Juniper is 15 so that's entirely appropriate) that'll have your foot tappin' and your heart swellin'. The songs cover a range of styles from dreamy soda shop pop ("Girls Just Want a Boy To Rest Their Head Upon") through glam stompers ("Kids On The Corner", "Everybody's Got A Crush on Chad") to punkin' power pop ("Punk Rock Boy"). There's even a nod to Springsteen on the almost absurdly singalong-worthy "Best Kept Secret". The arrangements are great with lots of surprising little touches. For example, I sure didn't expect the wah-wah on "How Long's She Gonna Stay In That Room", still less the electric sitar at the end of closing track "I Don't Wanna Dream About You". Throughout, Juniper's vocals are high in the mix, with good reason; her clear but unshowy voice is immensely likable. "Juniper" boasts a host of top contributors (Ira Kaplan! April March! Beans Geddes! Francis Macdonald! Kim Shattuck! (RIP) and more) but I suspect I'd enjoy it even if the songs were largely unadorned. That's the power of succinct, well-written songs steeped in the good stuff from the past 50+ years of pop music.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Shirley & Johnny "And I Don't Want Your Love"

There's an almost Buddy Holly goes gospel with Phil Spector at the controls feel to Shirley and Johnny's brilliant 1967 Parlophone single "And I Don't Want Your Love". From the feather-light guitar of the intro, to the intermittent fanfares, handclaps and cavernous drums, Norman 'Hurricane' (of "The Piper At The Gates of Dawn", "S.F. Sorrow" etc.)  Smith's production is a joy. Curiously, the song starts with "Yeah, and I don't want your love" as if we've started eavesdropping midway through a couple's break-up argument. From there it only gets gloomier:

I don't need the trouble
I don't need the pain
I don't need the fussin'
Or the cryin' again

...and more more pained:

I won't wreck my mind
I won't walk the line

All that's missing is a tear-stained stream of "and another thing!"s. Had I heard this on Sounds of the 60s (there's a fair chance I did), I would've enjoyed it but would most likely have assumed it to be a cheerful little number with a bright, radio-friendly production. It just goes to show how wrong I can be about things.

Vanity "Anticlimax"

Vanity's recent "Anticlimax" single (Feel It) is anything but. During the working (from home) week, predominantly electronic instrumental music is all my stressed brain can cope with so, come the weekend, the guitars (and lyrics!) can fly with the result that groups such as Vanity are very much a weekend treat like proper coffee and late night movies. Former Vexx guitarist (what I wouldn't give to witness their mad intensity upstairs in The Old Hairdressers again!) Mike Liebman's lead work on both sides of this ace 45 is gloriously Paisley-patterned, calling to mind an amphetamine-fueled, street tough Rain Parade.  Vanity have had three albums out so Not Unloved has a lot of catching up to do. Here's hoping they're all as fresh and vibrant as the songs on offer here.

I Ragazzi dai Capelli Verdi "Un Tipo Per Te"

At the start of 2020's lockdown I owned precisely no records produced in Italy in the 1960s. It's hard to remember why I started digging around in that country's pop past but the process has yielded some great 45s. First, there was an ace thumper by The G-Men which featured on Not Unloved in March, then a wonderfully woozy slice of helium-voiced baroque sunshine pop by I Jaguars and most recently the fizzing torrent of guitars that is I Ragazzi dai Capelli Verdi's "Un Tipo Per Te":

The green vinyl 7" of "Un Tipo Per Te" - it's on the flip of "Ragazza Note" - is a fairly cheap buy, even in these days of over-inflated prices for anything deemed halfway collectable. Around 20 quid is worth it for that bit at around 1:42 where the Byrds-y solo fades out leaving you thinking that the song is over and then BOOM!, the galloping guitars and sneering attitude crash back in making yr heart beat that little bit faster.

Nein Rodere "Feeling and Form"

Nein Rodere is the current working musical alias of Berlin-based (but previously Glasgow-resident) artist and musician David Roeder. There's a track on his latest, largely instrumental, tape, "Catch Up With Social" (self-released), that stopped me in my tracks. "Feeling and Form" is one of the prettiest, most seductively atmospheric new tunes to have dropped outta nowhere into my lap in 2020. The room ambience, the tape hiss, the relaxed tempo etc. give it the feel of a stoned late night Pastels or Movietone rehearsal (see also this track). It's the kind of diamond that Volcanic Tongue used to dig out of the New Zealand or Australian underground scenes with surprising ease and wouldn't be out of place on one of Carla dal Forno's unmissable monthly broadcasts for NTS Radio.

Glaswegians are advised to reserve a copy from Good Press immediately!

Sunday 5 July 2020

7"s! (Ribbon Stage / Lost Cat / Romero)

Things are looking up, finally. By looking up, of course, I mean a bunch of ace new 45s have appeared or are imminent. Not Unloved's pals at Monorail Music did the intros to New Yorkers Ribbon Stage yesterday. On the evidence of "Favorite Girl" (from their contribution to  K Records' IPU series), lovers of amped-up guitar pop that's not over-worked or over-wrought (hey...that's me!) have a new crush to set their hearts racing.

Outro Records has been busy over the last couple of years cranking out a slew of fine throwback garage punk records (The Premonitions, The Night Times, etc.). Their latest 7" to land at UK distros is the mighty fine "Don't Need A Man" by Lost Cat. The lead track makes me miss The Bobbyteens but "He's Gone" on the flip is moodier and stands up to repeated plays. I'm pretty sure you could you could sneak it unnoticed onto an early volume of Girls In The Garage without too many listeners filing a complaint with their MP.

Julian at Drunken Sailor does sterling work keeping on top of what's going on in the worlds of punk, hardcore, trash, power pop etc. so lazy lumps like Not Unloved don't have to.  For example, Australian group Romero's debut single, "Honey" (Cool Death), has been out since February but only landed with a bump in my world when Julian stocked it. It's a zesty concoction comprised of Blondie-worthy guitar lines and impassioned vocals that is clinically proven to cause fist-pumping and the shouting of "What happened at the discotheque?" . It's somewhere between Sheer Mag and The Strokes but less rock than the former and way more fun than the latter. Turn it up!

Thursday 7 May 2020

Freedom Rides

When I was 11 years old I was obsessed with football and biscuits (especially Bourbon Creams). I certainly wasn't writing and recording blasting power pop anthems with killer hooks. Dennis Harte, on the other hand, was and "Freedom Rides" (Roundtable, 1967) by his group Pure Madness is something special:

"Love has died
  Freedom rides
  Love has died
  Freedom rides
  I don't love you
  I don't need you
  I don't want you...
  Because you're not mine" 

From what I've read, this his been mis-categorised as a girl garage number which is understandable given Dennis's pre-teen voice. I reckon the young Kim Wilde could've knocked out a cracking version of it in 1981.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Ups And Downs

Not Unloved is way too disorganised to our alphabetise 7"s. Should lockdown-induced boredom ever make it seem like an attractive proposition, however, the U section will be pretty thin. There will be a few cracking Urusei Yatsura singles , that stupendous Umpteens 45 and a couple of superior quality janglers by 80s Brisbane then Sydney-based group, Ups and Downs1986's "In The Shadows" sounds like a perfect 80s radio hit. Maybe it was in Australia. Passionate vocals, clean production and, above all, a singalong chorus. "The Perfect Crime", from the previous year (if Wikipedia is telling the truth), is a notch darker and starts off with strong echoes of R.E.M.s. earliest recordings. Again, it has immaculately recorded guitars aplenty and the kind of melody just begging to be sung by serious teens in cardigans as they dance round their The Smiths and The Go-betweens poster-lined bedrooms. These weren't acquired at the time - I was too busy kicking a football on any available patch of grass to know anything about Australian pop! -  but some time in the early 2000s (from the stock of the legendary but by then closed, Minus Zero) after a kind soul included an Ups and Downs song on an all-Australian mix CD-R. I'm glad he did.

Saturday 2 May 2020

Journey To Tyme

Thanks to an, er, 'administrative error' (guess which chump put a decimal point in the wrong place on a speculative ebay bid), Not Unloved became the custodian of a nice promo copy of this long admired 60s psych/punk slammer:

There aren't many snarlier, snottier vocal performances in the Not Unloved 7" boxes and I reckon it outdoes most other 60s Texan punkers in terms of sheer guitar heft and its frenzied ending approaches Love's almighty "7 and 7 Is" for drumming power. A banger, for sure. The phrase "Journey To Tyme" was borrowed in the early 2000s for an enjoyable series of garage bootlegs (?), volume 2 of which provided Not Unloved's introduction to the brilliant Faine Jade.

Friday 1 May 2020

Looking for something to watch?

Record Safari follows Alex Rodriguez, the vinyl buyer for Coachella festival's record store, on a buying trip round the States hitting local record stores along the way and chatting with store owners and collectors. Some of the people he meets are well known (WFMU's legendary girl group collector Sheila Burgel, Nuggets compiler Lenny Kaye etc), others less so but everyone has a cool reminiscence or record or two to share. Some of the shops seems to have just ridiculous numbers of second hand lps. It's hard not to be a bit jealous of the folks who get to rifle through those boxes and shelves of dusty records on a regular basis. Alex, himself, is a low-key, amiable fellow with a penchant for vintage band t-shirts so spending an hour and forty minutes in his company is easy and there's always the fun of trying to spot cool records in the background e.g I'm sure I spotted a 7" in a generic 13 O'Clock Records sleeve and a little corner of that legendary Savage Resurrection lp.

Icky Boyfriends is the kind of band that Not Unloved should have known about 25+ years ago but, somehow, didn't. Scrappy, slightly juvenile loser punks without an ounce of fidelity, they must have been fanzine gold in their day. "I'm Not Fascinating - The Movie!", their contribution to the history of no-budget cinema, is an enjoyably rough and ready (think that ace first Redd Kross film) tale of a band on the rise who get signed and then trashed by an unscrupulous music industry exec. Sure it's, basically, a bunch of pals having a bit of knowing fun but they did have some help from some pals with some solid underground credentials: I spotted the name Aaron Dilloway in the credits and the director, Danny Plotnick, was one of the crew behind 80s/90s zine, Motorbooty (thanks for the scoop, TQ!), who also directed a few other short curios that are well worth a few minutes of your time, especially if you dug The Loud Family.

Sunday 26 April 2020

A horror film

Sending and receiving records through the mail can be a fraught business. Anyone who buys significant numbers of records online will have their own horror stories of parcels gone missing, inadequate packaging, seams splits, badly dinged corners etc.. A couple of months back a Mint- copy of one of the best garage pop 7"s to hit Not Unloved's eardrums - The Reasons Why "Tell Her One More Time" (Amy) - came up for sale so I stumped up the pennies and waited excitedly/nervously for the postal system to do its work. What a record! :

When it finally arrived, however, the parcel was damaged; it looked suspiciously like it had been stood on. Despite being well enough packaged, the vinyl was cracked and unplayable. Argh! In more than two decades of buying records I had never had that happen before. The seller was very understanding so I got a full refund and moved on mourning yet another one that got away. I hadn't really thought too much more about it until I stumbled upon this horror clip on Friday:

Imagine paying 9000GBP for one of the rarest soul records ever only for it to be run over by a truck - *shudder*. It sure puts my comparatively meagre loss into perspective.

Friday 24 April 2020

The Mice "Little Rage" (What Goes On)

It can't be that often that the mighty Yo La Tengo get upstaged on a split 7" but on 1987's split with Cleveland, Ohio's The Mice (What Goes On Records), I reckon that's exactly what happened. "Little Rage" by The Mice - lifted from their "Scooter" lp - is a cascade of jangling guitars, youthful vocals, melody and even the odd blast of trumpet. Not Unloved bought this for the Yo La Tengo side (the fairly fried"House Fall Down" from "New Wave Hot Dogs") but ended up only having ears for "Little Rage".  Such is the way of things, however, I got distracted and never did dedicate the time to explore the group's other work. Lockdown 2020 seems like just the time to do it, eh?

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Various Artists "Music Over Distance" (Signal Records)

"Collaborations during lockdown to raise money for personal protective equipment for NHS workers."

"Music Over Distance" is raising money for a good cause and features a host of ace artists working together remotely. Having road tested it today, Not Unloved can vouch for its suitably as a working from home soundtrack. That is in no way meant to demean it as mere background music! No, there is so much to admire among the 22 tracks including a touching finale. If you've ever cocked an ear to the kind of music sold or championed via boomkat or Norman Records, you'll find much to enjoy and a fair few familiar names including a bunch from the Hood orbit. It's only 8 quid and if you download it you'll get the rosy glow that comes from knowing you did a good thing. Plus, if, like Not Unloved, you were looking forward to seeing The Declining Winter on their mini-tour next week, track 15 goes a little way towards making up for its postponement.

Monday 20 April 2020

Lures "New Boy" (Salvaged Productions, 2011)

Woah, woah New-hoo Boy! Years before Not Unloved went a bundle on Real Numbers, a shadowy duo from (cough!) Hull named Lures wrote and recorded the brilliant "New Boy", a version of which  subsequently appeared on Real Numbers' ace Slumberland lp. The Lures version rattles like the fittings on a corporation bus trying to beat the red lights on the Kings Road circa 1978. It's utterly glorious from start to end. Luckily for the latecomers, it's still available from the Three Dimensional Records bandcamp page. No Messtheticist's 45 box should be without a copy or two!

Friday 17 April 2020

Protruders "No More" 7"

Italy's Goodbye Boozy cranks out an admirable but unmanageable (not to mention unaffordable) number of 7"s so I have to be choosy. Within seconds of hearing "No More" by Canadian chaos-bringers Protruders, however, I was scrambling to Paypal Julian at Drunken Sailor Mailorder the pennies to secure a copy. "No More" is a sandwich of 2 blasts of premium blend 142mph scrap-punk either side of a minute or so of derailing noise. Mayhem seldom sounded more fun!

Monday 13 April 2020

Tara Jane O'Neil & Marisa Anderson "Polly" (Jealous Butcher)

Not Unloved has been blessed to witness both Tara Jane O'Neil and Marisa Anderson play spellbinding shows in Glasgow in recent years so it doesn't come as too much of a surprise that their collaborative 7" (forthcoming on Jealous Butcher Records) is nothing short of stunning. Their take on Dillard & Clark's divine "Polly" is something truly special. Even sparser than the original, Anderson's intimate guitar playing and O'Neil's hushed, beautiful singing combine to incredibly moving effect. Gene Clark occupies an exalted position round these parts so I don't say this lightly, but this version may be even more emotionally resonant than the original. Should I make it, I'll still be listening to this in 30 years.

The pre-order is now live here.

Tuesday 31 March 2020

The Dimples "The Love of a Lifetime"

Recently,"The Love of a Lifetime" by mid-60s Scunthorpe group The Dimples has become my brain's hold music. So many mundane tasks (ok...mainly hand washing!) have been accompanied by me singing a rotten version of it. I suspect that some 60s R&B/Mod purists might be a little sniffy about its sweet sentiments and bubblegum catchiness. That's their loss as it's utterly charming and would entice Not Unloved onto the dancefloor any day of the week.

Friday 27 March 2020

Les Baroques "Such A Cad"

Not a French (or, for that matter, French-Canadian) group despite the name, Les Baroques hailed from the Netherlands. This 7" found its way into the Not Unloved singles box as it scratched the Nederbeat itch I'd been feeling since discovering recently that a) The Selfkick's "Gosh, I'm Your Woman Not Your Wife" had thee most crazed, amphetamine-pumped noise breakdowns of any song produced on the continent of Europe in the 60s (if you know of any other contenders for that mantle please leave a comment!) and that b) at 250+ quid for a decent copy, Not Unloved will never be able to afford The Selfkick's "Gosh, I'm Your Woman Not Your Wife". "Such A Cad" is a chirpy singalong tale of a "lost" young fella snogging every other girl in town - including his best friend's girlfriend...the rotter! - because the girl he really wants doesn't want him back. Bonus points for the yob-like drawl on "am I".

Wednesday 25 March 2020

The Curlettes "Waiting Just For You" (Twang!)

A recent Twitter exchange got me thinking about cool records that are still available for buttons on discogs or ebay. One enjoyable, cheap-on-discogs 7" is "Waitin' Just For You" (Twang!, 1988) by German group The Curlettes. As with yesterday's 45 by The Photographs, it was the only record to bear their name which is a shame as it's a perky singalong which would've been Indiepop Tape Swap gold had I heard it at the time.

Tuesday 24 March 2020

The Photographs "Second Best" (Do Not Bend)

In all the years I took part in the Indiepop List Tape/(CD-R) Swap nobody saw fit to put "Second Best" by Bristol's The Photographs on one of their mixes for me so I was unaware of its existence until a few weeks ago when it popped-up on a trusted seller's sales list. An outrageous state of affairs! Mind you, it's from 1979 so possibly gets grouped with power pop or even post-punk. Whatever, it's the kind of record that'll always turn my head. Does it rock? No, not really. Is it on the cute side? Yes, absolutely and there's something inexplicably great about the way the singer draws out "Midnight is our houuuurrrrr". If discogs is any guide, this was the sole outing for The Photographs so their back catalogue is guaranteed to be 100% dud free. I love it when bands make one cool single then...nothing...

Robin Saville "Bojagi"

As one half of ISAN, Robin Saville was partly responsible for one of the greatest 7" singles of all time (a bold claim but I'm standing by it!): "Damil 85" (Wurlitzer Jukebox). His latest solo lp, "Build A Diorama" (Morr Music), was released a month or so back and boasts some of the most brain-soothing pastoral excursions to reach Not Unloved's blasted ears in recent years. There are bell-like tinkles aplenty (see "Bosky" and "Might I Have A Bit of Earth?"). If anyone wishes Raymond Scott were still around to make soothing sounds for babies, they should get acquainted with "Build A Diorama" immediately. Check out the adorable stop-motion video for the stately, gliding "Bojagi" for a perfect meeting of sound and image.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Cindy Lee "Heavy Metal"

Growing up in the west of Scotland in the '80s, it was almost obligatory to be into heavy metal. The local Our Price would display the top 10 national and local albums in the window each week. On the local albums chart there would be all these names that meant nothing to me like Dio, Lita Ford or Dokken. 35 years on and I'm finally into "Heavy Metal"...the Cindy Lee (Patrick Flegel of the group Women's other project) song, that is. A month back, based on a distracted skim-through, I decided not to buy the "What's Tonight to Eternity" lp (W.25th). Thankfully, a friend's evangelism/surprise at my dismissal of it (cheers, C!) ensured that I listened again more closely. "Heavy Metal" quickly became my favourite track. It closes the record on an affecting, chills-giving but luminous note. It's sure to be used to touching effect in a movie at some point and when it is I'll be the one hoping the house lights don't come up too quickly...

All My Nights, All My Days

Thanks to some Covid-19-enforced time at home, Not Unloved has been getting reacquainted with some recent-ish buys. "All My Nights, All My Days" by The Breakers has all the elements to make it a 60s girl group classic: the dreamy lead vocal, the swaying backing singers, the romantic/affectionate lyrics etc.. Sure, it's sung by a fella but that doesn't change anything does it? Oh, and how sweet is that middle section where the singer sings from inside a watering can before breaking into a falsetto? Top stuff.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

The G-Men "Il Canto Dei Ragazzi"

Lately, the old fool known to a few as Not Unloved has fallen head over heels in L.O.V.E. love with The G-Men's 1969 opus "Il Canto Dei Ragazzi". I dread to think how many times I've listened to the YouTube clip, below. One of these days I'll actually make the time to play the 7" I bought but for now, YouTube it is. I love it for many of the same reasons (the atmospheric deployment of wah-wah pedal, the restrained rhythm, the cracking lead vocal) that I love The Action's dazzling "Brain". Usually, it's the brief garage thumpers or sunshine pop swingers that find favour here but I guess years of listening to the Japanese guitar blasters (Haino, Kurihara, Batoh et al) has paved the way for me to, finally, really feel the odd tune with a slightly extended guitar solo. Shocker!

Friday 3 January 2020

The Top Boost "Dreaming e.p." (You Are The Cosmos)

Spain's indie(pop) labels really are cornering the market in jangling pop these days. Last April You Are The Cosmos sneaked out Canadian group The Top Boost's "Dreaming e.p." while Not Unloved's back was turned. Thankfully, it was written-up in issue 98 of Shindig! so I didn't miss it completely. The title track is an immaculately recorded, sweet-voiced stomper that conjurs up images of clean-cut fellas in crisp duds and Ray Ban shades tapping their Chelsea booted feet in unison. Also, it's a real pleasure to hear the word 'reciprocate' in a song. If you've been flipping over Slumberland's essential round-up of The Springfields' stellar output, you could do worse than spending 8 minutes and 58 seconds in the company of the "Dreaming e.p.".

Thursday 2 January 2020

Ean Eraser "Illegitimate Love"

Last year a friend (thanks E, you did me a real favour!) gifted me a copy of Ean Eraser's sole 7", 2008's "Illegitmate Love". I hadn't even heard of it but the spare, hand-stamped sleeve suggested that it could contain some kinda great secret and so it transpired. From the first spin I was smitten. "Ilegitimate Love" is jittery, slightly thug-punkin', but 100% catchy and with a smart The Real Kids plays The Modern Lovers vibe; each power chord is a surge of electricity. A perfect statement made all the more powerful by the lack of a follow-up. Seek it out and BLAST IT OUT!